Digest highlights

ADC webinar on FMMO, dairy policy reform is April 5

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) will host a second webinar to explore potential federal dairy policy reform, April 5, 1-2:30 p.m. (Central time).

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

The “Future of Federal Dairy Milk Pricing” webinar panelists will include Danny Munch, economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, discussing “How will dairy processing (make allowance) credits impact your mailbox milk check?” Bryan Henrichs, an Illinois dairy and crop farmer, will provide a producer perspective on key milk pricing and policy issues needing reform under U.S. classified milk pricing system.

A portion of this second webinar will include updates on 2023 Farm Bill discussions, now in the development stages in Congress. Speakers include Kyle Varner from the office of U.S. Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Jeremy Witte from the office of Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas), ranking member.

The forum will be moderated by Dave Natzke, editor with Progressive Dairy.

Registration for the free, 1.5-hour forum is available here. A link to the webinar will be sent after you register.

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IDDBA: Food inflation concerns rose in February

The rate of food inflation continues to accelerate, affecting both consumer grocery shopping and restaurant dining in February, according to a monthly update from the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). Providing encouragement, dairy demand remains strong.

Compared to the same month a year earlier, higher prices led to increased dollar values in most dairy product categories in February 2022, but sales volume was down. Based on Information Resources Inc. (IRI) sales data, overall, dairy sales value was up 3.7%, while product volume was flat.

On a value basis, fluid milk was the biggest seller, followed by natural cheese and yogurt. Refrigerated dairy desserts had a strong February, with gains in dollars and volume. After many months of growth, February 2022 deli cheese sales value was down versus sales in February 2021.

What’s next? The marketplace disruption caused by inflation and supply chain challenges is not showing signs of letting up any time soon, according to the IDDBA report. Inflation is having a much greater impact on grocery shopping patterns than COVID-19. More than 80% of all meals are being prepared at home, well above the July 2021 low of 77%.

The share of consumers not planning a special Easter or Passover celebration dropped from 44% last year to 29% in 2022, though 21% have not yet made plans.

January fluid sales reviewed

Here’s an update on U.S. fluid milk sales data from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for January 2022.

  • Total sales: January 2022 sales of packaged fluid milk products totaled about 3.8 billion pounds, down about 1.7% from the same month a year earlier.
  • Conventional products: January sales totaled 3.56 billion pounds, down 1.5% from January 2021.
  • Organic products: Monthly sales totaled 246 million pounds, down 3.3% from a year earlier. Organic represented about 6.5% total fluid product sales in January.

The U.S. figures are based on consumption of fluid milk products in Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) areas, which account for approximately 92% of total U.S. fluid milk sales and adding the other 8% from outside FMMO-regulated areas. Sales outlets include food stores, convenience stores, warehouse stores/wholesale clubs, nonfood stores, schools, the food service industry and home delivery.

Bleiberg: Dairy progress possible on Capitol Hill

With rising energy costs and a war effort riveting attention, 2022 is turning out to be an unusually busy year on Capitol Hill – one that holds opportunity for dairy, said Paul Bleiberg, senior vice president of government relations for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

“Election years can sometimes be quiet in a lot of ways. But there’s still a lot of sausage making that goes on,” Bleiberg said in a NMPF Dairy Defined podcast. “We are hopeful that we’ll see some progress on supply chain legislation, in particular the Ocean Shipping Reform Act that our trade team has worked really hard on, to move forward in a variety of different contexts. And then that farm bill process is just going to get more and more significant as the date gets closer.”

Bleiberg also discussed the prospects for “climate-smart” agricultural legislation to pass Congress this year and looks at gains for dairy in recent spending legislation.

GDT price index steadies

Held on March 15, the latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction saw mixed dairy product prices, with the overall index down 0.9%. It marked the first decline from the previous auction index since December 2021.

By category, prices were:

  • Skim milk powder was up 1.6% to $4,545 per metric ton (MT, or about 2,205 pounds).
  • Whole milk powder was down 2.1% to $4,596 per MT.
  • Butter was down 1.8% to $6,958 per MT.
  • Cheddar cheese was up 0.3% to $6,412 per MT.
  • Anhydrous milkfat was up 0.4% to $7,111 per MT.

The GDT platform offers dairy products from six global companies: Fonterra (New Zealand), Dairy America (U.S.), Amul (India), Arla (Denmark), Arla Foods Ingredients (Denmark) and Polish Dairy (Poland). The next GDT auction is April 5.

USDA accepting ‘local food for schools’ applications

The USDA is accepting applications for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS), which will provide up to $200 million for states to purchase local food for school meal programs.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will award cooperative agreements to state governments for the purchase of domestic foods from local, regional, small and underserved farmers and ranchers. Local and regional farmers and ranchers are those within the state or 400 miles of delivery destination. State governments may also partner with local organizations including nonprofits, through these noncompetitive cooperative agreements.

Application deadline is June 17. AMS will hold an informational webinar on the LFS program on March 24, 1 p.m. (Eastern time).

USDA, Northwest Seaport Alliance partner to ease port congestion

The USDA is partnering with Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) to enhance access to a 49-acre “pop-up” site to accept either dry agricultural or refrigerated containers for temporary storage at NWSA in Seattle, Washington. The site is designed to reduce operational hurdles and costs by enhancing loading operations at the export terminals. The NWSA includes the marine cargo operations of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma and is the fourth-largest container gateway in the U.S. A similar pop-up site was launched at the Port of Oakland on March 1.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance has seen a nearly 30% decline in the export of agricultural commodities in the last six months of 2021, and the ratio of loaded versus empty container exports has shifted to predominately empty containers since May 2021.

The NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) praised the partnership.

Hood plants return to service

Published reports indicate most HP Hood LLC plants are back up and running after the dairy company’s network system was the victim of a “cyber security event,” according to statement by the company. Hood is a main dairy supplier in New England, including school milk.  end mark

Dave Natzke